25 Uplifting Stories From The Past Year That Will Brighten Even the Gloomiest Day

good news

We all know bad news sells, and all you have to do to get your daily doom-scrolling fix is surf the news pages for the endless defeatism on sale. Thankfully, there is plenty of good news out there, too, and it's always great to hear uplifting stories with a positive message. What stories should the news report instead of the neverending disasters?

1. The Four-Day Working Week

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After years of musing, gossip, and discussion, some companies finally rolled out the four-day working week for employees. If employees choose to work five eight-hour days or four 10-hour days, most choose the latter. This option is a Godsend for young parents, and who's to say more companies won't follow suit now?

2. A Multiple Sclerosis Breakthrough

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Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease with a debilitating effect on the nervous system, causing various symptoms in its sufferers. Thankfully, Georgetown University's College of Arts & Sciences' Department of Biology has developed a successful drug application that reduces late-stage M.S. in mice. The drug will move to clinical trials, and its developers are excited about the implications for people.

3. Kind-Hearted Landscape Gardeners

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The Internet age may have given us irritating habits, superficial relationships, and pointless influencers, but at least it gave us Tim, The Lawnmower Man. The YouTuber is famous for cleaning up people's gardens for free, usually helping those in need or older people who wouldn't otherwise afford the service. He can offer the free service by sharing his content and delivering satisfying before-and-after shots of his expert yard work.

4. Less Taxing Tax Returns

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You rarely hear the three words: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the same sentence as something positive. However, the IRS has announced partnerships with 13 states in a Direct File pilot scheme for free, online tax returns. The 2024 scheme is only being rolled out in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York, plus the nine states without income tax.

However, all states were invited, and although they weren't in a position to join the pilot, it was an encouraging step toward a simpler tax filing process for all Americans.

5. Couch-Surfing Nurse Wins a Dream Home

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When struggling nurse Oceanne Belle entered a charity draw for a £5 million dream townhouse in London's exclusive Chelsea, she never could have imagined the outcome, reports Yahoo! News. The pediatric nursing student had been down on her luck of late, sleeping on her friend's couch and feeling depressed — she even blocked the charity's number after not recognizing it. Amazingly, the charity's prize team surprised her at her address, singing Christmas carols and presenting the shocked Oceanne with keys to her new house and a check for £100,000.

6. A New Wolf Pack in Town

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In August, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported seeing a new gray wolf pack in Tulare County. This sighting is remarkable because the native gray wolves were exterminated from California by 1924 but for a brief visit of one lone wolf named “OR-7” in 2011 before it returned to Idaho. This discovery is great news for the Golden State.

7. Clinical Trials for a Breast Cancer Vaccine

 An African-American female technician positions a Caucasian woman at an imaging machine to receive a mammogram.
Image Credit: Rhoda Baer – Public Domain/WikiCommons.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says breast cancer affects one in eight women, making it the most common cancer. Sadly, many people have lost grandmothers, mothers, and daughters to the disease. The good news is that Anixa Biosciences have encouraging results from their first clinical trials for a new form of treatment, with 75% of patients showing a good immune response. It is still early, but figures like this cannot be ignored.

8. Mark Cuban Is Disrupting Big Pharma

Mark Cuban speaking with attendees at the 2019 Arizona Technology Innovation Summit at The Duce in Phoenix, Arizona.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore – CC 2.0/WikiCommons.

According to the Office for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Americans pay more for pharmaceutical drugs than any other nation. However, recent developments with Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drugs company force other pharma retailers to lower their costs. By going directly to the producers and cutting out the middlemen, also known as pharmacy benefit managers, Cuban is lowering people's annual costs by up to $1,200 on average. In 2023, CVS announced something similar, which is fantastic news for Americans with health issues.

9. A Postbox to Heaven

Postboxes in Ocean City, United States.
Image Credit: Jerry Kiesewetter – CC 2.0/WikiCommons.

In Nottingham, England, 10-year-old Matilda Handy had a great idea after losing her beloved grandfather, Keith, last year. Her idea: a postbox to Heaven so family members can send birthday and Christmas cards to their departed relatives. Daily Mirror reported how the crematorium loved the idea after Matilda's mom suggested her idea. Even better, the story went viral and white-painted Heavenly postboxes are now at crematoria across the United Kingdom.

10. Bay Area Bees Are Buzzing

An unidentified species of a bumblebee in Dereli - Giresun, Turkey.
Image Credit: Zeynel Cebeci – CC 4.0/WikiCommons.

NBC reported in April that the San Francisco Bay Area honey bee populations are rebounding after years of decline. After California's bountiful rain and snowmelt over the past year, California has experienced record floral blooms, resulting in healthy bee populations essential for pollinating. Another factor behind the honey bee return is a movement to rebuild gardens and parks, providing better habitats for our insect friends.

11. Curing Symptomatic Rabies

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Image Credit: scientificanimations – CC 2.0/WikiCommons. 

Rabies is a neurotropic Lyssavirus-born disease from infected canines, which affects large regions of Africa and Southern Asia. Scientists recently discovered an antibody-based therapeutic approach to treating symptomatic rabies. The treatment has cured rabid mice, and if successful, it will save more than 60,000 lives per year.

12. Justice Is Served (With Fries)

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An impatient fast-food customer named Rosemary Hayne was caught on camera in 2023 abusing a Chipotle worker. The 39-year-old mother of four shouted at Emily Russell before launching food at her face. However, this story ends well: Hayne was given the choice of 90 days in jail or 30 days in jail and 60 days working in a fast-food restaurant. She chose the latter.

13. RIP Medical Debt

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Some great people devised an idea: to buy past-due medical debt for pennies on the dollar, then forgive the person who cannot pay it. Their website claims that every $100 donated goes toward $10,000 in medical debt relief. In 2023, a fundraiser gained over $1,000,000 in a week, which will absolve $100 million — take that, medical debt.

14. Tinnitus May Be Disappearing

Man wearing foam ear plug, closeup view, earplugs
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There is good news for many of the 25 million Americans who suffer from tinnitus, a high-frequency sound vibration in the ears, which can sometimes be torturous. A University of Minnesota (UMN) Twin Cities engineering professor and his team designed a new non-invasive hearing device called Lenire. The College of Science & Engineering reported a 79% success rate in their A3 clinical trials in 2023.

15. Tucson Wastes No Time

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Tucson City Council approved a project to turn plastic waste into construction-grade building blocks in May. The next four years will see the Arizona city team up with ByBlock, a company specializing in the process, following a successful pilot program in Ward 6. In August, the district launched a community project to save plastic, donating 93 tons of plastic — way above their target. Tucson's agreement makes it the first city in the world to expand the process as a city-wide service.

16. An Autoimmune Disease Milestone

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In June, a landmark moment in autoimmune disease treatment arrived with the first successful use of RNA cell therapy. The Lancet Neurology published a study showing the effective use of anti-CD19 CAR T cells for the neurological disease myasthenia gravis. By using Descartes-08, an RNA CAR-T therapy, the trial was the first of its kind, giving encouraging signs for a wide range of autoimmune diseases.

17. A Secret Millionaire Blesses His Hometown

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Last November, Geoffrey Holt of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, passed away, but the unassuming mobile home caretaker held a secret — he was a multimillionaire. Over his lifetime, reported CBS News, Holt invested in mutual funds, amassing a $4.2 million fortune. In an act of love, he left the $3.8 million to the 4,200 people of Hinsdale.

18. Detroit Is Back

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In 2013, Detroit was still suffering the hangover of the 2008 financial crisis, with the city $18 billion in debt, becoming the largest municipality to file for bankruptcy. Although there are still many challenges to face, Detroit now sits on a budget surplus, wrote NPR. The city has also issued $100 million in bonds to rehabilitate or reconstruct abandoned houses. Finally, after a decade of hurt, Motor City is back on the map.

19. Romeo the Manatee Finally Settles Down

A crowd seating view of the Miami Seaquarium: Golden Dome.
Image Credit: Pietro – CC 3.0/WikiCommons. 

In 2023, the story of America's lonesome manatee captured the imagination. Romeo was moved from the Miami Seaquarium after living in isolation for 30 years and separated from his lifelong mate, Juliet. After decades of campaigning from animal welfare groups, the old mammal's fortunes changed. Romeo was removed by the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).

20. An End to Civil Asset Forfeiture

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In 2023, U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) formed a bilateral partnership with Tim Walberg (R-MI) to reform the country's law with civil asset forfeiture. The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act) makes it harder for the federal government to confiscate assets or seize property. This increase in proof required means small businesses and innocent parties will have more asset protection from local police, which has been “far too easy” in the past, according to Rep. Raskin.

21. California's Reservoirs

Lake Morena (Morena Reservoir) in San Diego County, California
Image Credit: Ruff tuff cream puff – Own work, CC0/Wiki Commons.

Perhaps the greatest environmental story of the year involves California's mind-blowing precipitation in 2023. The state received over two-thirds of its annual average, filling California's reservoirs and groundwater tables and restoring balance to the arid landscape. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NDIS) states that 100% of the state was in drought conditions at the start of 2023; however, only one percent of California now has drought status.

22. We Can Now Treat Sickle Cell Disease

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a revolutionary new treatment for sickle cell disease, a powerful condition affecting over 100,000 Americans, most of whom are African American. Casgevy, a medicine from Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, uses the CRISPR gene-editing tool, which won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

23. More Books Than Burgers

The Morgan Library and Museum
Image Credit: Mike Peel – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

A simple figure should encourage bookworms and school teachers everywhere. The U.S. library system is in good health, with 123,627 libraries in the United States. Putting such a number in perspective isn't easy, though one example would be to compare it to how many McDonald's restaurants are open today: over 14, reported the American Library Association (ALA) in 2023. So, roughly 900% more libraries than McDonald's branches are open today.

24. The Kids Are Alright

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Doom-mongers will convince us that we have lost the youth, perhaps focusing only on negative characters is to blame; truthfully, young people have never been more caring, accepting, and conscious of others. One example is Jake Skinner, a British teen who lost his sister to cancer on Christmas Day, 2015.

In her memory, Jake put Christmas lights from her office desk on the family home, never took them down, and just kept adding them to the home, which accepts donations for MacMillan Cancer Support. The family has raised more than £16,500 so far, not including 2023's donations.

25. Hedging Bets Away From Homes

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With a housing shortage affecting many parts of America and a shortfall of 6.5 million homes, the thought of private equity firms owning American homes is sobering. However, such a crime has been allowed to go unpunished for too long. However, politicians are now moving the self-explanatory “End Hedge Funds Control of American Homes Act” through Congress, with a potential end in sight for corporate home ownership — three words that have no business together.

Author: Ben Rice

Title: Trending Topics, News, Features.

Expertise: Lifestyle, Travel, Music, Film.

Bio:

Raised in England and with a career background in international education, Ben now lives in Southern Spain with his wife and son, having lived on three continents, including Africa, Asia, and North America. He has worked diverse jobs ranging from traveling film projectionist to landscape gardener.

He offers a unique, well-traveled perspective on life, with several specialties related to his travels. Ben loves writing about food, music, parenting, education, culture, and film, among many other topics. His passion is Gen-X geekery, namely movies, music, and television.

He has spent the last few years building his writing portfolio, starting as a short fiction author for a Hong Kong publisher, then moving into freelance articles and features, with bylines for various online publications, such as Wealth of Geeks, Fansided, and Detour Magazine.